One of the things I liked back in 1990 (when I was getting into the Westwood games and trying to understand what was going on) was that the first full scale fusion reactor was completed in 2020.
It’s a small thing but it felt like not only did the universe have a local history but also a full path from today to there. That in 30 years we might have fusion power, and from there the stars. Everything building and being eroded on a scale that felt like it filled a thousand years (and somewhat provided the cover to basically mirror the past into this theoretical future).
The iterative structure of large fictional universes means we’ll always be building out detailed tiny sections of them (as this game builds on its own tiny space to fill in new details and shape into a story) but they need to have that foundation that makes it all tick. Something that defines the theme and makes it so you can instantly say if you feel that a new story fits into the world.
@The_JoE: AFAIK the game called Battletech for the Genesis was just the rename for the port of the SNES game MechWarrior 3050. Developed by Tiburon Entertainment. Yes, Madden developer now owned by EA; that Tiburon. (I think someone else actually did the port work but the versions are, not guaranteed for the time, so similar that Tiburon should get the main credit.)